Category: Technology

The New York Times’ redemptive use of virtual reality

The thick bundle that is the Sunday edition of the New York Times arrived in our driveway as usual last weekend, but this time it had an extra pouch attached. Inside was a Google Cardboard — a small, rectangular, virtual reality viewer. After downloading a video from the Times onto your smartphone and then sliding your phone into a notch on the viewer, you could look through the lenses and watch a 360-degree,…  [more]

What Peeple gets wrong about people

Few startups have been met with as much instant animosity as Peeple. Originally described as a "Yelp for people," the proposed app would allow you to rate and comment on your acquaintances in three categories: personal, professional and dating. (There are even plans for a five-star rating system.) When news of the startup broke last week, the backlash was so immediate and widespread that some have speculated Peeple…  [more]

Bitmojis: a bridge toward authenticity?

Few situations in life have prompted as much internal dialogue as the creation of my Bitmoji. My love handles - did they really disqualify me from the athletic body shape? Was it truly necessary to choose a nose that actually matched the crooked shape of my own? Why are there so many eyebrow choices? And, more importantly, why was I so tempted to downplay the actual size of what I have always referred to as my…  [more]

Sins of emission: playing my part in the Volkswagen scandal

This past spring, my husband and I purchased what we thought was the perfect family car for an environmentally sensitive but fun-loving family of five. After months of research, we ruled out larger SUVs (too environmentally destructive) and minivans (gas guzzlers and a little too frumpy for our taste). We narrowed our choices down to three wagons with sufficient backseat width and good stowage capacity. Among those…  [more]

Google’s Deep Dream and spiritual perception

When Google showed a group of its computers images and asked them to visually describe what they saw, the results were full of vibrant color and kaleidoscopic patterns, resembling something from a dream or a hallucination. Indeed, the name given to the code that was used is Deep Dream. The human race has long been fascinated with the content of dreams and the ability of the mind to invent impossible landscapes and…  [more]

California’s drought and a Christian ethic of water

A few miles from the town where I live on the San Francisco peninsula, there is a monument to water: the Pulgas Water Temple. It’s a Beaux Arts-style temple, with a reflecting pool set in a green, grassy lawn. The temple bears these words from Isaiah: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” The temple celebrates the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy…  [more]

Stephen Hawking and the body of Christ

In an interesting article in the June edition of Epic magazine, Helene Mialet writes about people’s response to her 10-year ethnographic study of the social fabric (people and machines) that surround Stephen Hawking and allow him to be the Stephen Hawking we recognize and respect. As an ethnographer, Mialet is interested in how Hawking’s ability to do what he does as a scientist is dependent…  [more]

The approaching scourge of virtual-reality porn

Before the Internet, it was easy to think of pornography as a worldly problem far removed from the church. Videos and magazines could only be bought in stores, which required showing one’s face at a public establishment - something most Christians probably avoided. But by the time I was 15, I had a computer in my room with a wire to the world. Suddenly, pornography could be accessed at the touch of a button…  [more]

Monasticism and the Googleplex

Nathan Heller had me at the title: “Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work.” Heller’s New Yorker article breezily condenses a decade or so of Google’s corporate real estate travails into a jambalaya of metaphors, all while describing a design project for their new headquarters that looks like the latest version of the Biosphere. As the headline hints, Heller lands, finally, on…  [more]

Asking hard questions about embryo adoption

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed this past Father’s Day, I saw photos of married dads, divorced dads and single dads; of dads caring for their biological children, adopted children and stepchildren. I saw, in other words, the diversity of families in contemporary America. Families today are created and configured in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. This diversity is due to…  [more]

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